What's the easiest source of daily fiber?
I walked into a co-worker's office the other day, and saw his little bag of Fiber One lying on his desk. I recognized the little plastic bag that comes inside the cereal box. "Hey" I said "I eat that too!" He explained that his cholesterol was high and his doctor had him eating it as part of his low-fat, high fiber heart-healthy diet. And we all know fiber's good for our digestive systems.
Most Americans eat only half the recommended daily amount of fiber. The American Dietary Association recommends 25 to 35 grams of fiber every day. If you pay attention to your fiber intake, you know that 35 grams is a lot. It's a real challenge to eat that much.
Animal products don't have any fiber. It's all from plant sources. The best sources are beans, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. But I've found some shortcuts that are really helpful. I have a job right now that has me working about 12 hours a day - I don't have time to whip up whole grains and stir-fries. I wish I did but I don't.
I used to eat whole-grain oatmeal with 2 tbsp ground flax seeds, raisins, and walnuts for breakfast every day. But I abandoned that right quick when a doctor friend told me about 3 cold cereals that have a lot more fiber than that. The best one for me has been Fiber One. It has more fiber than any other cereal, hot or cold. And it tastes better than All Bran, which is a close second in terms of fiber.
Here are the top cereals with a high fiber content:
General Mills Fiber One has 14 grams of fiber in only 1/2 cup (and only 60 calories).
Kelloggs All Bran Extra Fiber has 13 grams of fiber in 1/2 cup (and only 50 calories).
Kelloggs All Bran Bran Buds have 13 grams of fiber in 1/3 cup, with 70 calories.
Kashi Good Friend has 12 grams of fiber in 1 cup, but with a lot more calories...170.
Weetabix Organic Crispy Flakes & Fiber has 11 grams of fiber, with 170 calories in 5/4 cup.
Weight Watchers Banana Almond Medley has 10 grams of fiber, 170 calories, in 3/4 cup.
In case you're curious about how these numbers relate to other sources of fiber...
1 medium sized apple has 3.5 grams.
1 large pear has 6 grams.
Oatmeal has 4 grams per cup, cooked.
Kidney beans have 7.3 grams per 1/2 cup, cooked.
Navy beans have 6 grams per 1/2 cup, cooked.
Bran Flakes and Raisin Bran both have 4 grams per 3/4 cup.
A bran muffin has 2.5 grams.
Brown rice has 2 grams per cup, cooked.
These are all great sources of fiber and other nutrients, and are earth-friendly foods, too, because they're all plants. According to a recent United Nations report, "Livestock's Long Shadow," the world's "livestock sector" is the second or third biggest cause of all the world's major environmental problems. That includes meat, eggs, and dairy - all livestock. ( Fiber One tastes great with soymilk, so no dairy needed.) By the way, you can google the title of that U.N. document to read the whole thing.
We explore the topic of consumer impacts on our fragile planet in our new book, Going Green: A Wise Consumer's Guide to a Shrinking Planet. Due out in April 2008 from Fulcrum.
One more little tip: fruit juices have very little fiber. Orange juice has only 1 gram per cup, apple juice only 0.8 grams per cup. Better to eat the whole orange and eat the whole apple. Would love to hear more ideas about easy ways of eating fiber.
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